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Since we recently published an interview with horror legend Charles Band, what better time to write up a top 10 list of the greatest Full Moon Pictures movies ever made? The timing is pure coincidence, I assure you. We here are Yell! Magazine are much too proud to suck up to Hollywood types by publishing a follow-up article praising their work to high heaven. We Internet journalists conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and discipline and we strive to be an example to our peers. We are as innocent and giddy as newborn babies floated down to Earth on the wings of angels.
On an entirely unrelated note, why wasn’t I invited to this year’s Christmas party?
Anyway, without any further delay, here is Yell! Magazine’s Top 10 Full Moon Pictures Movies Of All Time! As usual, the movies are presented in no particular order.
No.10 Doctor Mordrid
While Full Moon Pictures is largely associated with the horror genre due to its long-running Puppet Master franchise, the studio also delved into the realms of science fiction (Crash and Burn), historical drama (The Pit And The Pendulum) and, in the case of Doctor Mordrid, comic book fantasy. Directed by Charles Band himself, Mordrid was originally intended as a vehicle for Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, but the rights were lost somewhere along the way and the movie was retooled. The basic Doctor Strange framework is still there: powerful magician, living secretly among humans, protects humanity against countless magical incursions from beyond and from evil magic users bent on our destruction.
Hey, Doc? ABBA called, they want their blue pantsuit back.
Genre icon Jeffrey Coombs stars as the titular character and, delivering a charming, intelligent performance that anchors the movie. Opposite is Brian Thompson’s Kabal, who makes for a fearsome foe. Mordrid gets a useless love interest in the form of Yvette Nipar, but the movie as a whole would have been better had her character not gotten in the way of the magical fisticuffs. While Mordrid’s special effects haven’t aged well, there are a few standouts. A final reel showdown in a museum features one great set piece moment: a battle between the animated skeletal remains of a T-Rex and a Mammoth.
What puts Doctor Mordrid over the top is just how unpretentious the whole thing is. Everybody is doing a good job, having fun and taking the whole thing just seriously enough to get the audience to willingly follow along with a smile on its face. Hell, if it wasn’t for a bit of nudity I’d highly recommend you show Mordrid to your kids. Aw, who am I kidding! If you’re any sort of cool parent you won’t let that stop you from sharing this awesome little B-movie with your kids. So what if they get their first taste of boobies? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
I refuse to take responsibility for this.
No.9 Meridian: Kiss of the Beast
Since we’re on the topic of breasts, let’s talk about Meridian. Another Charles Band-directed feature, Meridian makes great use of some gorgeous (and affordable) European locations, a Full Moon Pictures trademark, and equally great use of some gorgeous chesticular locations belonging to erstwhile Twin Peaks actress Sherilyn Fenn and Full Moon torch bearer (and personal childhood crush) Charlie Spradling.
Homina… homina… homina…
Band goes for a dreamy, almost Harlequin romance novel quality here. Two nubile art students travel to Italy to visit the castle one of the pair has just inherited. There’s a curse, a traveling troupe of sideshow freaks, and a beastly werewolf-like creature of the night wandering the grounds. Kiss Of The Beast is Beauty And The Beast by way of Seduction Cinema: it’s wonderfully shot, the beautiful Italian locations belie the movie’s tiny budget, and there’s enough nudity to carry you through the occasional Twilight-y “he loves, he loves me not” angst scene.
Oh, Romeo, Romeo… HEY, BOOBIES!
Look, Meridian is no great shake as a date movie, but there’s just enough meaningful staring into each other’s eyes to get chicks interested and more than enough bared skin to keep your werewolf howling at the moon. It’s well-made, the story is surprisingly sad, and if you’re willing to go along with it, you won’t regret the ride.
No.8 Subspecies 1-2-3-4
Full Moon Pictures had many unique talents working on its movies, but if you had to remember one name from Full Moon’s early stable of directors, it should be Ted Nicolaou, the man behind the hidden gem that is the Subspecies series.
While any discussion involving vampire movies will invariably feature such classic characters as Dracula and Count Orlok, true fans of the genre will always bring up actor Anders Hove’s truly out-of-this-world creepy take on Radu, the main antagonist of the Subspecies films. Unlike a certain sparkly, girly vampire whose ass you can see kicked 10 times over in a previous list, Radu isn’t pretty, he’s not suave, he drinks blood with reckless abandon, and doesn’t much care about the fact that he’s incapable of hiding his inhumanity.
Unless he’s hiding out at a Cher concert.
Lumping all four movies together might be a bit of cheat, but it really is one complete story told in four parts. Shot in Romania, Nicolaou manages to bring a distinct sense of realism to the proceedings. Nicolaou squeezes every drop of drama out of his budgets, stringing together a truly epic tale of betrayal, bloodshed and horror.
The standout performance is, of course, Anders Hove. His Radu is all haunched over walk, raspy voiced, and snake oil salesman charm — and viewers will miss the times when he’s not on screen. Denice Duff plays Michelle, the subject of Radu’s lust, for three out of the four movies, replacing original actress Laura Mae Tate, who opted out of the sequels.
“I can’t wait for Twilight to come out so I can ditch you for Edward…”
All four Subspecies movies are now out in a collector’s edition DVD. I highly recommend you check them out. They stand as stark proof that storytelling and imagination often trumps massive budgets.
As much as I love Full Moon Pictures, even a hardcore fan must admit that the studio never saw an idea it couldn’t wait to “pay homage to.” For instance, Trancers homages the living shit out of James Cameron’s Terminator movies.
Essentially film noir shot through a science fiction lens, Trancers stars cement-faced Tim Thomerson as Jack Deth (because Dick Hardsteel, John Johnson, and Bigpenis McGonnakillya were already taken), a time-traveling cop sent to modern day (well, 1985) Los Angeles to prevent a serial killer from assassinating the ancestors of several important future people and shag a pre-fame Helen Hunt. Not necessarily in that order.
Her plastic surgeon deserves an Oscar.
I may sound harsh on Trancers, but you always hurt the ones you love. Directed once again by the man himself, Charles Band, Trancers is one of the unquestionable gems in the B-movie kingdom. Despite being filmed nearly 27 years ago, the story, acting and that certain je ne sait quoi that distinguishes bottom-of-the-barrel direct-to-video trash from the jewels still manages to entertain. I dare any B-movie fan to watch this trailer without smiling from ear to ear.
Trancers (1985) Trailer
Probably a more obscure choice than some of the other movies on this list, Shadowzone still holds a special place in many Full Moon Pictures’ fans’ hearts.
It’s got monsters. It’s got boobs. What more does a kid need to get through life? OK, fine, monsters, boobs, and oxygen. Shadowzone is one of the many “underground complex gets overtaken by alien influence” movies that crowded video store shelves in the early ’90s. Get this: an experiment in sleep therapy accidently opens a portal to a parallel universe and… dun dun dun… something comes through to our side!
For such a clichéd movie, Shadowzone has a great cast, including Oscar winner Louise Fletcher and perennial genre favorite James Hong. Maureen Flaherty provides the ample nudity seen above. Judging from her filmography, her only clothed appearance might have been in an episode of Doogie Howser. I’m guessing. Maybe it was a “very special” episode of Howser where Doogie loses his virginity to a street whore. Wait, I think I’m mixing my real life and fiction again…
Find out which Full Moon Pictures movie ranks Number 1 after the jump…